April 18th, 2002
There are people out there who have said that they won't play the new Zelda because of how it looks. I'm pretty sure that they have been kicked in the head by mules or have been the recipients of some other massive head trauma. That and they have small, malformed penises. People who won't play it because they don't like that style of game I can relate to. Sorta. I don't play sports sims as a general rule. I can't understand how anyone can resist Zelda's many charms, but hey, some people scar themselves on purpose. But those who have played past Zelda games, have enjoyed past Zelda games, and now say that they won't play the new one because of its looks... shoot them all now. Or at least disfigure their faces. Come on, TOOT and MM were masterful. True evolutions of 2D Zelda into the 3D realm...
The Legend Of Zelda basically started a whole new genre of game. People still argue about how to classify it or describe it. Whatever you call it, I call it brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Good graphics, for the time. Good music too, so much so that the absence of the main theme in The Ocarina of Time was most people's biggest gripe with the game. The beeping caused by low health oftentimes drove me mad. A simple, compelling story (I've always been a sucker for royalty in peril). And perfect control. And two white guys rapping in the commercials (the Legend of Zelda is really rad). Countless hours were spent roaming the Hyrulian countryside, offing Octorocks and searching for that elusive princess. Through forests, desserts, lakes, underground and beyond I solved puzzles and found scattered pieces of heart. Finding enemies' weak spots and exploiting them, freezing creatures and then blowing them up with a bomb, defeating the bosses. Getting full health and shooting your sword off all over the place. I remember dieing a lot at the hands of Gannon. Or claws. Whatever he had. Square shaped stubby instruments of death. But I finally bested him and got the girl. I was as happy as a clam, flush with my considerable accomplishment. But I was a little sad, too, cuz it was all over. Then I found out about the second, harder quest. That was back when Miyamoto was still a bastard. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Then came Zelda 2. Like Mario 2 it is easily the worst of the series. Still by all rights a very good game, just not as good as what went before and came after. Mario is for side scrolling, not Zelda.Many years passed until Zelda returned, but it was worth the wait. It added the now series staple of traveling between two worlds. Basically a highly refined Zelda. Fantastic.
Here is where I will mention the Game Boy Zeldas, because here is where they belong. They were all made after the 16 bit adventure, and they continue on its top down legacy. Some people have argued that top down is the only way to play Zelda. I may not agree, but these are some great games. If you loved any of the pre-64 Zeldas, you'll adore these. Simple as that. I cannot bloody wait for an Advance Zelda. That, my friends, will be the bee's knees.
Now we come to the N64 Zeldas: two of the best games for the Nintendo 64. Two of the best games ever. Played them both to death. And then some more. Whenever I lent them out, I missed them. When I got them back, I played them through again. They both grabbed me by the throat, right from the first. The flight of Navi in Ocarina, the pursuit of Epona in Mask: simple, classic tales mixed seemlessly into perfect gameplay. Perfect Gameplay. Miyamoto never ceases to amaze me. One day, there will be college courses about him like there are about Shakespear today. How fantastic is Z-targeting? How influencial? How many games had anything like it before TOOT? How many now? How many more SHOULD?
That perfect gameplay let you explore the intoxicating worlds presented in the games. The new items gave you all sorts of options. I killed hours messing around with the hookshot. The new dungeons tested your mind, the bosses your reflexes. And that's just the meat and potatoes. I haven't yet touched on the soup, the salad, the desert. The fishing game that could be a game of its own, (just compare it to the shallow time waster in Dark Cloud on the "superior" PS2) the golden Skultulas, the many different masks. And the horse, my God, the horse. Why don't more games have horses? A pity, that.
Not as pitiful, though, as those people who would pass up all this, this emberassment of riches, because Link has big eyes. Don't get me wrong, I'd love a mature Link as much as the next man, (unless that man was a peadophile) but Iknow enough to take whatever Miyamoto deems worthy to give. And to give him thanks when he does.